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CO Reports: Grouse hunters more successful

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - October 4, 2022

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District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) saw an increase in small-game hunters and the number of grouse taken. Ducks have stayed in the area, and hunters are enjoying the season so far. ATV use and fishing participation have decreased, but some people are still going out. He gave a talk to seventh- and eighth-graders from Crosby School as part of their Canoemobile event.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled this week for big-game, migratory waterfowl, and small-game hunters. Field training continued with COC (Conservation Officer Candidate) Ulrich. A livestock producer reported a calf loss due to wolf depredation. A trapper was notified and confirmed it as a wolf kill. Nine gray wolves were removed from the area of the kill.


CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) checked small-game, waterfowl, bear and deer hunters this past week. Enforcement action was taken for various violations and assistance was provided at an ATV crash. Several wildlife-related calls were also handled.

CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) spent time checking small-game hunters and ATV riders throughout the week. She also responded to an ATV crash and answered numerous calls from the public with hunting related questions.

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District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) continued field training. Waterfowl hunters have continued to have some success in bringing in a variety of ducks as the season continues. A reminder to waterfowl hunters to make sure they properly identify what they are shooting prior to taking the shot. Time was also spent patrolling area ATV trails and checking anglers on the Cass Lake chain of lakes. In-service training was attended at Camp Ripley.


District 4 - Walker area

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) finalized his background investigation and participated in annual training at Camp Ripley. Additionally, Cross worked angling, waterfowl hunting, small-game hunting, and big-game hunting. Enforcement action was taken for numerous waterfowl, small-game, and boating violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) continued training a new conservation officer from the recent Academy. The officers worked Leech Lake and attended Division training. Enforcement action was taken for numerous fishing and boating violations.


CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked small-game hunters and anglers. She also responded calls about an injured eagle and an injured bear.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports checking anglers and hunters for seasonal activity. He also completed online training and attended fall training at Camp Ripley.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers, duck hunters, and ATV riders. Mathy also investigated a deer-hunting TIP and a report of littered animal carcasses. Enforcement action was taken for angling and ATV violations.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked waterfowl activities over the past week with plenty of ducks still in the area. Enforcement action was taken for not having the proper stamps to hunt waterfowl and not having enough life jackets on a watercraft. Sutherland also gave out road-killed deer permits and ATV permits for partially disabled hunters.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) worked angling and recreational vehicle activity during the previous week. Time was also spent working boating safety and attending training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action involved angling license violations.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) continued to focus on small-game hunting and ATV activity. Grouse hunting continues to be good and is expected to get better as more leaves fall from the trees and shrubs. Enforcement action was taken for grouse- and woodcock-hunting violations. Several cases were worked on where people abandoned property and/or dumped garbage in the woods.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity where falling water temperatures caused angler success to pick up. He also attended some training, assisted with the confiscated equipment auction, and assisted with an injured loon.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) followed up on wetland and trespass complaints. Time was spent checking small-game and archery hunters. Griffith worked an ATV detail on the Spider Lake trails. Assistance was given to local agencies and enforcement action was taken for ATV and small-game violations.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) checked hunters and anglers in the area. State parks and forest campgrounds were patrolled. Assistance was also given at an ATV crash.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) assisted with in-service training at Camp Ripley for firearms qualification and use of force training. He received several phone calls from people with various questions and concerns.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) assisted with training and instructions this past week at Camp Ripley.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) had a busy week. He assisted area county sheriff’s deputies with two vehicles in the ditch. One was a semi driver who was arrested for DWI. VanderWeyst also assisted with a capsized boat where an angler went out on Rice Lake on a very windy day. His ability to pull the inflation cord on the life jacket he was wearing saved his life. VanderWeyst attended training at Camp Ripley as well. Several other calls were handled in vacant stations as well, including hunting in the closed area of a WMA, cameras left in WMAs and litter in a protected waterway.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent most of the week working duck hunters. Enforcement action was taken for license violations and transporting loaded guns. A case was also made where a bowhunter shot a doe and decided to not tag it and cut it up himself so he could save his tag and continue to hunt.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers, attending training, and checking waterfowl hunters.

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) fielded questions about the use of WMA lands and leaving duck decoys unattended on public waters. Hanna conducted some ATV and firearms safety classes.

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